BERLIN (AP) — Those behind a suspected arson attack on a German hotel intended to house refugee families will be tracked down and held to account, a top security official in eastern Germany said Saturday.

Police said windows were broken and a fire broke out shortly after 5 a.m. Friday at the Spreehotel on the outskirts of Bautzen in what authorities believe was an anti-foreigner attack. Four employees staying in the building managed to escape unharmed and the fire was extinguished.

Armin Schuster, the interior minister of Saxony state, said he believed the attackers intended to “lay waste” to the entire building, which was to house an initial group of 30 refugees from countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Russia starting next week.

Schuster said everything would be done to find the culprits and insisted they did not represent German society.

“On the contrary! They will pay for this,” German news agency dpa quoted him saying.

The former hotel already was used to house refugees between 2015 and 2017, and was the target of an attempted arson attack in 2016. Bautzen saw tensions between migrants and locals flare that year amid an influx to Germany of people seeking shelter from conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The city, located east of Dresden near the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic, has become a stronghold of the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Last week, a fire destroyed a shelter for Ukrainian refugees on Germany’s Baltic coast in what authorities say could have been arson.


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